One thing I enjoy most about my job is that I am constantly learning. Every day brings a new challenge, whether it is identifying a weed or insect or trying to determine the cause of a declining tree or homeowner’s lawn, each situation is an opportunity to learn something new and share my newly gained knowledge with others.

Newt McCarty 2016

Newt McCarty

Valencia County Extension agricultural agent

We are very fortunate in Valencia County to have a group of volunteers not only dedicated to lifelong learning, but they believe in lifelong teaching. The Valencia County Extension Master Gardeners are community servants dedicated to inspiring community members in their gardens and landscapes. A healthy, beautiful garden or yard brings joy, and the more we know, the greater our chances of gardening success.

The Master Gardener volunteers spend many hours each year learning the most current research-based gardening information and practices and then are tasked to share what they have learned with our community.

The Valencia County Extension Master Gardeners contribute more than 2,000 hours of service each year to our local residents in effort to fulfil their mission. The VCEMG’s accomplish this by hosting educational events. You can find them each spring at home improvement store garden centers answering questions and providing publications on a vast number of gardening topics.

The VCEMG also provide the Gardening Survival Series, a monthly seminar covering gardening topics related to the current season. Throughout the summer, Master Gardeners have information tables at all three of our local growers’ markets, providing information and solutions to our many gardening challenges.

The Home, Garden and Health Expo is the largest event provided by the VCEMG program. The Expo covers an array of topics every year divided into three tracks: home, garden and new this year, a health track. This event requires significant planning and effort making sure the topics are relevant and presenters are knowledgeable concerning the topics.

The title of Master Gardener is not a level of achievement but more a destination. The advancement of science, technology and research are continuously discovering and delivering new information keeping opportunities to learn and teach about gardening fresh and exciting. Master Gardeners have found the perfect match for their two greatest passions, gardening and serving their community.

Every hobby provides the opportunity for a lifetime of learning, be it cooking, woodworking, sewing, painting, sculpting, baking, quilting or any other hobby on the endless list. Whatever your passion, you most likely seek the most up to date information helping you to continuously improve your skills and knowledge.

I challenge you to consider taking it to the next level by becoming a lifelong teacher. A multitude of opportunities exist for you to share your passion with others whether through the Master Gardener program or other outreach opportunities. Reaching out to the homebound, recently retired, schools or community groups is a great way to teach, share and spread your passion in our community.

Throughout our lives, there are people who impact us by their willingness to share their time and passion. By sharing our skills and knowledge with others, we ensure our hobbies and interests carry on for generations to come. Be more than a lifelong learner, become a lifelong teacher.

Program announcements

To register for an upcoming program, call the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service at 565-3002. For more information, visit valenciaextension.nmsu.edu.

• Nurturing Parenting Program, Owning and Communicating Feelings: 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20, at San Clemente Church in Los Lunas. Free.

• Meadow Lake Kids Club: 4-5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 25 and March 10. Free. Meadow Lake Community Center, 100 Cuerro Lane, Meadow Lake.

• Gardening Survival Series, “Seed Selection”: 10-11:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 29, at the Bosque Farms Public Library, 1455 W. Bosque Loop. For information, call 565-3002.

• Home, Garden and Health Expo: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, March 7, Peralta Methodist Church Community Education Building, 25 Wesley Road, Peralta. $5 registration, lunch included. RSVP by March 3 by calling 565-3002

If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of auxiliary aid or service to participate in a program, please contact the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service office at 565-3002 two weeks in advance of event.

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